The University Grants Commission (UGC) in India has officially recognized trans people, creating a separate category for them in applications for scholarships and fellowships.
This means applicants filling out university forms will not be restricted to only choosing ‘male’ or ‘female’ gender identities.
This news has been praised by gay rights groups, who now believe the years of discrimination against gender non-conforming citizens is coming to an end.
Vivek Anand, CEO of the LGBTI rights group Humsafar Trust, said the decision from the UGC was a welcome one.
‘The scholarships will make a huge difference as a lot of star performers from the LGBT community come from socially and economically backward communities,’ he said.
‘They drop out of education because there aren’t proper avenues to start off.
‘Some transgender people get admitted to courses as males, some as females. But they don’t like making that choice.
‘It is important for educational institutes to create space for them and make a start by mentioning ‘others’ or ‘transgender’ in their applications.’
A UGC spokesperson commented on their decision to be more inclusive.
‘As we open our scholarships for transgender people, we are hoping that no student is left out of the higher education system for want of funds.’
They edited their application process to allow applicant to choose male, female or transgender on their enrolment forms.